A journeyman, a villain, and a depth player with just a handful of NHL games vie for the title of the greatest to wear #46 for the Nashville Predators.
Although a relatively minor journeyman center who spent two seasons in the Nashville organization (2002-3 and 2003-4), Smith actually played the most games wearing #46 for the Predators, with 29 total (he spent most of his time in Milwaukee). He chipped in with four goals and one assist as a Predator before leaving as a free agent.
Sergei's big brother enjoyed one of the shortest, most controversial careers as a Nashville Predator in franchise history. Acquired from the Montreal Canadiens at the 2012 Trade Deadline in exchange for a pair of draft picks, AK46 was seen as the hired gun who could provide offensive depth for a Preds team which had hopes for a long playoff run. A few weeks later, Alexander Radulov made his remarkable return and it looked like the Predators had the kind of offensive depth we hadn't seen since 2007, and could dare to hope that a run at the Stanley Cup might be possible.
Of course, as we all know, a curfew violation the night before Game 2 of the Phoenix series turned Nashville's post-season into an all-consuming dumpster fire. He and Radulov were suspended by David Poile for Game 3 for their crimes, and when the Preds eked out a 2-0 victory in that game, Barry Trotz played the "I won't change my lineup because we won" card to keep them out for Game 4 as well. A shutout loss followed, naturally, and the Game 5 elimination shortly thereafter. Kostitsyn headed back overseas last summer as a free agent, where he has played for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL ever since.
In 19 regular season games for Nashville AK46 scored four goals and assisted on eight others. In the playoffs, he contributed three goals and one assist in eight games.
An undrafted free agent the Predators signed in 2012, Henderson is still climbing the professional hockey ladder. He spent almost all of last season with the Milwaukee Admirals, but did get a brief callup with the Preds and scored in his first career NHL game. He went scoreless in three other games for Nashville, and may get a chance for spot duty in the years ahead, as he signed a two-way contract extension this summer which keeps him in the organization through 2014-2015.
So which of these #46's gets your vote as the best in Nashville Predators history? Let the debate commence...